Size / / /

The boy and his father

were deep sea fishing;

the small boy, cutting bait.

Suddenly, a monstrous shark

rose halfway out of the water next to the boat

and swallowed the boy whole.

Inside the shark,

knife still in hand,

even in the dark the boy knew what to do.

He cut the soul out of the shark.

Immediately, the sky opened with teeth

and the boy escaped the darkness

unscathed.

Still, something hard

escaped with the boy.

He was, as always, himself to the eye,

but the hearts of those who knew him

caught other glimpses.

At the beach, when he swam in the sea,

he moved swiftly

with a sort of deadly determination

that drove others to the shore.

While friends swam to the wooden platform

and rested there in the sun, laughing,

he drove on past

and further and further into the sea.

One day,

a friend, looking west from the platform,

saw a giant white form

rise in front of the distant swimmer,

come down like sea spray over the boy,

and then both the boy and vision were gone,

replaced by a dark fin

cutting out to sea.




Cathy Ackerson’s poetry has appeared in venues including Caprice, The Dragonfly, Out of Sight, and the anthologies But Is It Poetry? and Poets West. Her artwork has appeared in several publications from Dragonfly Press including Rocket Candy.
Duane Ackerson's poetry has appeared in Rolling Stone, Yankee, Prairie Schooner, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Cloudbank, alba, Starline, Dreams & Nightmares, and several hundred other places. He has won two Rhysling awards and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Salem, Oregon. You can find more of his work in our archives.
Current Issue
24 Jan 2022

Piece of my essence, accept my sorry.
Some people, right? We’ll fold you into sparrows, help you disappear—I’m so glad we found you alive
By: Katy Bond
By: Averi Kurth
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Katy Bond
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents the poetry of the 24 January issue.
Hope without action behind it is only a recipe for deeper heartache.
I love flash fiction for a lot of reasons. There’s the instant gratification of reading a complete work of fiction in just a few minutes. And there’s the way flash lends itself to playful, inventive experimentation with form, prose, style, voice, and subject. I also love the way a flash story can be honed and sharpened as everything extraneous is eliminated, and the way it can capture and convey the essence of something—an emotion, a world, a situation, a possibility, an idea, even a joke!—in brilliant brevity.
Wednesday: I am the Tiger by John Ajvide Lindqvist, translated by Marlaine Delargy 
Friday: The Tangleroot Palace Stories by Marjorie Lu 
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Issue 6 Dec 2021
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Podcast read by: C. S. E. Cooney
Issue 29 Nov 2021
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Issue 15 Nov 2021
By: Madeline Grigg
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Issue 8 Nov 2021
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